Energy saving 101:
101 tips for saving energy
Let’s talk savings! Currently the average UK household spends £137 a month on gas and electricity (Source: UK National Statistics). That’s 7% of their total take home earnings. But with new smart technology, it’s easier to save on your bills than ever! Here’s our top tips for energy saving.
Chill out, saving energy is a breeze
Many fridges and freezers use a lot of energy, but an awful lot can be cut back just by understanding how energy works. For example a packed fridge won’t stay chilled as easily because there’s no air for the cold to travel on. Check out our refrigeration tips:
- Make sure that your fridge has a thermostat so you can change the temperature to suit your needs. This should be kept below 5 degrees.
- Or get on board the technology train and buy a smart fridge. They come with a tablet device built into the door so you can control the temperature and know what’s in storage without having to let the cold out by checking manually.
- Move your fridge just a little bit out from the wall for more efficiency.
- It’s a demoralizing sight to see an empty fridge, but don’t over fill it either. Cold air needs room to circulate so it doesn’t have to work harder.
- Keep your freezer at least ¾ full – the more that’s in there the less wasted energy.
- Its beer o’clock! But do you really need a separate fridge for your booze? Keep them in the bottom draw and be ready to crack open a cold one with your pals any time.
- Hold the door! Or don’t… many of us leave the fridge door open way longer than we need to while we’re pottering about in the kitchen, remember to close it to save energy.
- Make sure the fridge door is closed nice and tight, it keeps the cold in – also check the rubber seal every now and again to make sure it’s still efficient
- Keeping your fridge and freezer too close to the oven and hobs can have THAW-ful consequences. Keep them apart!
- Give energy guzzlers the cold shoulder. Fridges use a lot of energy so when buying one try to get an A+ or A++ in efficiency to save.
- Size matters when it comes to fridges. American style fridges talk the talk but they don’t always walk the walk when it comes to energy consumption. While an A++ energy efficiency rating on an American style fridge can seem like a green light, it’s important to remember that a larger refrigerator will always use substantially more energy than a smaller one, however efficient it has been designed to be. And if a large refrigerator or freezer is half-empty, the energy costs will be even greater. (Source: yougen)
- Freezing leftover food is a great idea for saving energy, time and waste, but make sure to let it cool down before putting it in the freezer or it’ll raise the core temperature making your freezer have to work overtime to compensate.
- Be sure to defrost your freezer regularly to be more efficient. About 6mm (1/4 inch) of ice is far too thick to work efficiently.
- Trading in for a new model? Make sure you dispose of your old appliance properly. Fridges, for example, release harmful refrigerants into the air. Your local council or the shop you bought it from can help you with disposal.
Cleaning and drying all uses energy, but if you’re savvy you can cut it right down. Check out our cleaning energy saver tips to find out how.
- On warmer days hang the washing out on the line, most dryers aren’t very cost effective and maybe your clothes want to sunbathe too.
- It’s raining, it’s pouring. Just because the British weather is a bit on the damp side doesn’t mean you have to tumble dry. Put your clothes on a rack near the radiator, just don’t put them directly on the radiator or it’ll make your boiler work overtime and use more energy.
- Some washers have a delay setting so you can wash your clothes at night when the energy is cheaper, providing you are on a two rate meter.
- Most detergents work at temperatures as low as 15 degrees; try turning the heat down for a more economical wash – this way your clothes won’t shrink either!
- On those days where the washing basket is a bit sparse, try the half load setting to save water, energy and money.
- Ensure your dishwasher is full before you use it to maximise efficiency.
- Or, even better run it in economy mode. Every modern dishwasher has a special energy-efficiency setting that will use less power to heat the water.
- If your dishwasher has a time delay, and you have Economy 7, set it up to come on during the night and take advantage of cheaper rate electricity.
- Scale it down! Descaling your washing machine will make it run more efficiently. Don’t have the right descaling product? Vinegar can do the same job as most over the counter products.
- Many older tumble dryers suck up more energy than most appliances. Try using it less. If you have a smart meter you’ll see the effects straight away.
- Or get one with an advanced heat pump. It could save you roughly £25 a month.
- Try ringing the clothes out first so the dryer has less work to do, or putting the washer on high spin.
- Keep an eye on your tumble dryer to make sure your clothes aren’t already dry, if they are, stop the cycle and save energy.
- You could even use a tumble timer and dry at night to save money if you’re on the 2 rate meter.
- Plan your ironing! Do you ever get the iron ready and start the chores then spend 10 minutes looking for coat hangers? Fetch them before you start so you’re not wasting electricity.
- Using a steam iron? Try a mesh ironing board, it allows the steam to go through your clothes, making the job faster and the iron more efficient.
In the kitchen
Are you a bit of a gas guzzler? Kitchen etiquette is responsible for a lot of energy waste. Read on for our top tips to a more economical kitchen.
- Remember that smart fridge we told you about earlier on? Well you can link them to a smart oven. Using the tablet style interface on the fridge door you can read recipes and even automate your oven with just a tap. It’ll even detect if there’s anything cooking so if you forget to turn it off it’ll do it for you – saving you heaps of energy.
- By using a lower heat with your pots and pans your food will cook just as nicely as on high heat but you won’t waste as much gas.
- Put a lid on it! By using a saucepan lid you’ll keep the heat in, meaning you can use a lower heat; remember heat rises.
- If you’re a Brit then you probably drink your weight in tea (or coffee). Why not invest in an energy saving kettle so you only boil what you need.
- Ever dared to sneak a peek at the inside of your kettle? It’s pretty dreary, so descale it every few weeks and save both energy and your hot beverage.
- If you’re using a pan on the hob, turn the heat off just before the food is fully cooked. The boiling water will finish it off nicely.
- Slice and dice your food into smaller bits and they’ll cook faster, saving you time and energy.
- Meal for 1? Use the microwave! Fish, pasta, veg and even cake take approximately 1/3rd of the time of an oven cooked meal.
- Jacket potatoes cook nicely in the microwave. It’s only a rough guide but we’ve found that 8 minutes will do the trick, then take it out, wrap it in tin foil to keep the heat in and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.
- Full steam ahead! You can use a steamer or segmented pan to cook your veg all on one hob, and steaming makes them taste just as good.
- Cook your vegetables in the microwave. A common myth is that the microwave uses more energy because it cooks faster, but the truth of the matter is that it’s a lot more economical because microwaves don’t adsorb heat, so there’s less excess energy waste. As an added bonus the microwave helps the veg retain colour, taste and nutrients – something that boiling them takes away.
- Making sure the hob size matches the pan size will save energy.
- An oldie but a goodie. Using a tea pot will save you both time and energy because you have more tea made in one go, saving both tea bags and the kettle from multiple boils.
- If you cook extra and freeze half to microwave later, not only do you save valuable time, but also energy.
- Fancy a slice of toast? Use an electric toaster rather than the grill for a fast, cheaper crunch.
- Peeping through the window? Of your oven that is. Opening the oven door to check the food wastes energy, so keep that window clean – it’s there for a reason.
- Use a pressure cooker for your meals. They’re faster and more efficient.
- Or even slow things down with a slow cooker. Put your food in at the beginning of the day and have it ready by tea time.
- Are you a chip fan? Then don’t use the chip pan. Use a deep fat fryer, it’s safer and more economical.
- Use the grill it’s healthier and faster than the oven.
Possibly the biggest saver of all is insulation. The heated air in your house unfortunately doesn’t stay with you. It’ll try and escape through every nook and cranny, but with our insulation top tips you can keep it that much longer.
- Ok, from the top… of the house. As we’re sure you know, heat rises. So naturally loft insulation is a huge saver. Your loft insulation should be at least 270mm (11 inches) thick. This is easy to put in place yourself.
- Down the hatch! Don’t forget to insulate the back of your loft hatch and add some draught excluders.
- Where your pipes enter the house, spray some insulation foam to prevent draughts, just be careful not to block your vents.
- Is your water tank in the loft? Make sure to wrap that with insulation too. Just make sure that if it is less than 30cm off the floor, not to insulate the bottom so warm air can rise from the room below to prevent freezing. You can TANK us later.
- Cavities aren’t just for teeth. Get a professional to fit cavity insulation in your walls. Despite heat rising you lose more heat through windows and walls than anywhere else.
- Which brings us to the next point. Double glazing! No that isn’t what’s on a doughnut, it’s window insulation and it can save you a lot of money.
- Need a cheaper option? Install internal secondary glazing.
- It’s easy to place covers on your letterbox and key holes, they may be tiny but don’t let them fool you with the amount of heat they lose!
- Use insulation strips on your windows, they’re pretty cheap and can be found at your local DIY store, or online.
- Drawing your curtains at night helps to stop heat escaping, especially if they’re lined.
- If you seal the spaces between floorboards, below skirting boards and behind the bath you’ll be surprised at how much warmer it gets.
- Underlay, underlay! Make sure you use underlay with your carpets.
- Survival experts say that when camping, more heat escapes your body through the floor than through the air, so if you only have one blanket you should put it underneath you in a survival situation. The same goes for your house so underlay!
- And if you’re a bit funky try novelty draught excluders to add further insulation to the home. You can even get ones that look like dogs!
Saving on your heating needs is easier than ever with new technologies like the smart thermostats and smart meters.
- Turning your heating down by just 1 degree can save you 1% - 3% on your yearly energy bill. (Source: green home guide)
- Put on an extra layer. Turning the thermostat down and wearing more clothes saves you money, but it also stops your skin from drying out as fast too, so this one’s also a beauty tip!
- Make sure your radiators are proportionate to the size of the room they’re heating.
- When you are in bed do you really need the heating on? Turning it down or off will save you lots of money. Or get a smart thermostat to do it for you.
- Myth: Leaving the heating on low all day uses less energy than turning it on and off periodically depending on when you’re in the house. WRONG. Turning the heat on and off as and when you need it is much more economical, and to make it easier than ever look at getting a smart thermostat which will do it for you! Myth busted.
- There’s no point heating rooms you don’t use, fit thermostatic values for more control over where the heat goes.
- On the point of control, you could get a smart thermostat. They work using an app on your phone so you can control your heat remotely, set timers and preferences and access more in depth information than before. Gone away for the weekend and forgotten to turn the heat off? Not a problem with a smart thermostat!
- Remember to bleed your radiators once or twice during the winter months to release trapped air and increase efficiency.
- If you have storage heaters, try not to have them near windows and draughts, it can mess with their sensors and heat the room incorrectly. It will also cost more to run as heat will be lost through the window.
- Getting a bit of a sweat on? Turn the heating down before you open the window to save energy.
- If your boiler is 10 years old change it for a new one to save up to 27% on your heating bill – definitely worth the investment.
- If you can afford it, buy a gas boiler, they’re very efficient.
- If you don’t need a new boiler, make sure yours is checked annually to ensure that it is working efficiently.
- Turn the heating off 20 minutes before you go out. When you’re rushing around finding keys and getting ready to leave the house, you won’t notice the temperature dropping.
Cut the water waste
Water consumption all adds up and most of it is an easy fix. Read the following easy steps to start saving!
- Bit frosty after work? Grab a shower! They use roughly half the water of a bath and they’re more hygienic.
- On the other hand, after a long week of work sometimes a relaxing bath is just what you need. If that’s the case then just try not to fill it deeper than you need.
- A handy tip is using the plug when washing your hands rather than letting the water drain away.
- Similarly, don’t leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth.
- The same goes for washing up, use a bowl and you’ll save massively on water usage.
- Or, when you rinse the dishes after a meal, use cold water and save on heating.
- If you have more bedrooms than people in your house, you can wash away your water bill worries by installing a water meter. Having one could save you £100 a year or more.
- Go the extra mile by installing a smart thermostat and have complete control over the hot water and heating. We at ENGIE install them for you as part of our Control Tariff.
- You could even fit a shower regulator, which controls the amount of water you use.
- Leaving the washing up to the last minute is lazy right? It is, but it could also save you money if you wait until the sink is full to wash up.
- Decided to cheer yourself up with a nice getaway? Don’t forget to leave your thermostat on low rather than turning it off to prevent your pipes freezing over.
- If it’s a summer holiday you should be able to turn it all off. Or have the smart thermostat do it for you; you can have complete control even if you’re half way to China.
- Got both a boiler and an immersion heater? Use the boiler for the water, it’s cheaper.
- Don’t forget, water cylinders feel the cold too! Keep them nice and toasty with insulation that’s at least 80mm thick.
Did you know there are even smart light bulbs now? Well there are, and while we’re on the topic, here’s some bright ideas for saving on the electricity.
- Switch the lights off when leaving a room, it seems obvious but it’s easy to forget.
- Watt else? You could also invest in energy saving bulbs like LED lights to save that extra wattage.
- Or you could invest in smart lighting which can sense your presence in a room and switch the lights on and off for you. They even dim automatically depending on outside lighting and on average the bulbs last 15 years. Just think of how many light bulbs you’d normally blow through in that time!
- Get smart! Using a smart meter will help you stay clued up on your energy use. Did you know the government has set a target for energy companies to offer a smart meter to every house in the UK by 2020? Well that’s the aim, so if you don’t have one contact your supplier – or wait for them to offer you one.
- It pays off to only charge your phone until its 100%. Or if that’s too much hassle to remember, buy a smart plug which will stop the electricity flow as soon as you’re charged so you can leave it on overnight and still sleep easy.
- Are you a bit of a gamer? Make sure you don’t leave your games console on pause for hours while you do other things.
- You could invest in sensor outdoor lighting or even solar powered ones to save and go green.
- Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas time again? Use LED lights, they save energy and they don’t blow so no more searching for the broken bulb in a box of 600.
- Drum roll please! Our final tip is to look into smart technology. From fridge to light bulbs to thermostats. Smart technology is making waves in the modern energy business. This autonomous equipment is all connected together wirelessly so your home can control everything for you. This will help you save vast amounts of energy on your journey to going green!